Food, Korea

Korean pizza? Korean pancake? Call it what you want, it’s Jeon! Or Buchimgae!

Jeon and Buchimgae is generally considered to be interchangeable, but there difference is that Jeon is usually made with the main ingredient cut thinly, covered in flour then egg batter to be pan-fried. While Buchimgae may be more appropriate to be named the Korean Pancake or Korean Pizza because it would consist of diced ingredients, which can vary from seafood, vegetables, or others which are mixed with a flour batter (or the specialized Buchimgae batter) and the batter is laid thinly over a heated pan to be pan-fried. A general difference may be that for Jeon there is usually one main ingredient and the other ingredients would be supportive ingredients, while in Buchimgae there are various ingredients creating more focus on the flour batter.

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Jeon (generally used to encompass Buchimgae as well) is one of the few Korean dishes that would need much oil for the preparation, with the flour batter absorbing the oil in the pan-frying process; it was considered to be prepared only for special occasions due to the costs of the ingredients. In Korean holidays such as Sulnal (Lunar New Year) and Chusuk (Korean Thanksgiving), fish Jeon and/or meat Jeon are usually prepared

Jeon may be nicknamed as the Korean pizza or the Korean pancake, due to its exterior of being round and the flour batter which is a vital ingredient. And like pizza and pancakes, Jeon can be made with various ingredients, therefore resulting in various types of Jeon, where one can choose from, or a person can actually make the recipe up. Jeon is generally various ingredients which include meats, poultry, seafood, vegetables that is mixed with an egg-mixed flour batter then pan-fried with oil. Jeon isn’t a main dish in Korea, mostly used as a snack or as a side dish, and it is also prepared for various occasions. Jeon is also considered to be a good side dish for when drinking, and specifically it is said to go well with Makgeolli (Korean-style rice wine).

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Being a favorite during rainy weather (although a definite reason is not specified), which supported the finding that the sale of flour increase significantly when it rains. An unreliable explanation of this phenomenon is that this may be due to the similarity of the sound of the Jeon being cooked to the sound of rain.

Generally Jeon is already seasoned with the ingredients that are mixed into the batter, but soy sauce may also be used as a dip (although only a tiny amount is dipped). Being a dish which is usually torn with chopsticks and shared within a group, Jeon may not be a fancy dish but is enough for informal gatherings with friends. So try the Korean pizza/pancake, with your own choice of ingredients mixed into a batter, fit for a rainy and a non-rainy day!

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